Category: General

Now Available! Hubble Star Cards

If you’ve visited this website in the past, you’ve probably seen the big area on the home page featuring Hubble Star Cards. The space-themed card game puts the universe in the hands of parents, children and teachers.

The game won a Hubble Gold Star award in 2010 from NASA and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) for its inspiring use of the amazing imagery from the Hubble Space Telescope. The vivid, stunning images motivate and engage children of all ages to learn about objects in Space.

Hubble has a unique ability to draw the public into exploring space. Through beautiful images of planets, star clusters, pillars of dust, and galaxies, Hubble provides a crucial stepping stone in the process of scientific inquiry. Hubble Star Cards create a hand-held experience that opens the door to new questions and answers. You can actually hold the Universe, all of creation, in the palm of your hand and have fun learning about it at the same time.

The game includes 60 cards categorized by planets, planetary nebulae, supernovae remnants, nebulae, star clusters and galaxies. The cards include an image, a basic description, a key to the type of object, location in the sky, constellation, and distance from Earth. Possible games include War, Go Fish, Sorting, Distances and Matching. Although targeted for students 8 and older, preschoolers have played many of the games just by using the amazing imagery as a guide.

Hubble Star Cards, just $24.95, are available for secure online purchasing at

I think they are pretty neat and I think you will too.

A Rainbow Tightly Spun

NASA, ESA, CXC, JPL, Caltech and STScI

Tightly spun filaments of color wind around the core of the Pinwheel galaxy in this combo image from four of NASA’s Great Observatories.

Explore the arching tails of color in this image. What stories or pictures do you see? Leave a note in the comments below.

The Pinwheel Galaxy lies fairly close to Earth; just 21 million light-years away toward the constellation Ursa Major, the Great Bear or the Big Dipper. It is considered a grand design spiral galaxy and we see it nearly face-on allowing astronomers a good look at the tight, bright nucleus and long, graceful spiral arms. This galaxy is also about 70 percent larger than our own Milky Way Galaxy. It dwarfs our galaxy with a diameter of 170,000 light-years.

Composite images, images made from several telescopes, like this help astronomers match up features that show brightly in some parts of the light spectrum with those in others. They are more than just a rainbow of pretty colors. Each color tells a different story about how stars form and how they die. Red colors in this image come from the Spitzer Space Telescope. Warm dust, where stars are being born, shine brightly for Spitzer. Yellow bits of starlight shining through are from the Hubble Space Telescope. Hubble sees the Universe as we would see it with our own eyes in visible light. Blue areas shine brightly in ultraviolet. These are young, hot stars seen by NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer, or GALEX, telescope. The Chandra X-ray telescope sees areas in purple. This is light given off by supernovae, exploded stars, hot gas and material falling into black holes.

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Many Faces in Doradus

NASA, ESA, D. Lennon and E. Sabbi (ESA/STScI), J. Anderson, S. E. de Mink, R. van der Marel, T. Sohn, and N. Walborn (STScI), N. Bastian (Excellence Cluster, Munich), L. Bedin (INAF, Padua), E. Bressert (ESO), P. Crowther (University of Sheffield), A. de Koter (University of Amsterdam), C. Evans (UKATC/STFC, Edinburgh), A. Herrero (IAC, Tenerife), N. Langer (AifA, Bonn), I. Platais (JHU), and H. Sana (University of Amsterdam)

Many faces hide around the star cluster NGC 2060 in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

Explore the loose collection of stars and nebula. What stories or pictures do you see? Leave a note in the comments below.

The star cluster NGC 2060 is a family of stars that are drifting apart. These stellar siblings were born from the same star cloud but now they are no longer gravitationally bound. Within a few million years the grouping will cease to be as all the stars will have dispersed. The nebula is full of little gems besides young stars. Look just left of center in the image. A supernova, created when a massive hot star ended its short life after burning all of its nuclear fuel, exploded blowing a bubble within the cloud about 10,000 years ago. The dark area near the center of the image is a dense cloud of cold dust between Earth and the cloud. Other smaller dark globs of dust blot out the starlight from behind. Fierce stellar winds and blistering ultraviolet radiation from the young stars in this nebula push the glowing gas and dust into arcs and pillars

NGC 2060 is part of 30 Doradus, the brightest star-forming region that we know about 170,000 light-years from Earth in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The LMC is a dwarf galaxy near our Milky Way Galaxy. The massive nebula is home to some of the most massive stars in our cosmic neighborhood. It is so bright and close, that Hubble can see individual stars offering scientists information on how stars are born, evolve and die.

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Smudge of Pink


Vast regions of stellar nurseries appear as smudges of pink light throughout galaxy NGC 4700 in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

Explore the patches of reddish, hydrogen-rich molecular clouds. What stories or pictures do you see? Leave note in the comments below.

NGC 4700 appears to be brimming with new star birth. the pinkish clouds, called H II regions, are similar to the Great Nebula in Orion or the Eagle Nebula. As gas and dust in these clouds move around, some of it bunches together. Gravity in the cloud causes more material to gather and eventually, when enough gathers in an area, it begins to glow on its own, becoming a star. As these stars grow in size and brightness, strong solar winds and ultraviolet light stream into the surrounding nebula causing it to glow.

Explore the structure of NGC 4700. Astronomers classify it as a barred-spiral galaxy like our own Milky Way Galaxy. But because of the angle of view, the spiral structure is hard to make out. Astronomers study these types of galaxies to get a better idea of how stars and galaxies form. Notice too, the dozens of more distant galaxies that dot the background of this deep image from Hubble.

NGC 4700, discovered in 1786 by English astronomer William Herschel, is found about 50 million light-years from Earth; relatively close galactic standards. It and many other galaxies make up a galaxy group in the constellation of Virgo, the Virgin.

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Salt and Pepper

ESA/Hubble & NASA

Salt and pepper hang in amorphous star clouds in this image of irregular galaxy DDO 82 from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

Explore the partial spiral structure of DDO 82, also known as UGC 5692. What stories or shapes do you see? Leave a note in the comments below.

Astronomers classify this dwarf galaxy as an Sm galaxy or Magellanic spiral galaxy. This galaxy is similar to the Large Magellanic Cloud, a nearby dwarf galaxy to the Milky Way Galaxy. Both have one spiral arm. And unlike their larger cousins with billions of stars, dwarf galaxies have only a few million stars.

Zoom in close to the blue stars at the center of the image. These blue patches are new stars or star clusters. Red and yellow stars along the outside are older stars. Peppered throughout the background look for faraway galaxies. The bright stars in the image are nearby stars that are part of the Milky Way Galaxy. The green halo near the star in the center is light playing in the optics of the Hubble Space Telescope.

DDO 82 gets its name from its entry number in the David Dunlap Observatory Catalog. Canadian astronomer Sidney van den Bergh compiled this list of dwarf galaxies in 1959. The galaxy is part of the M81 Group, about three dozen galaxies just 13 million light-years toward the constellation Ursa Major, the Great Bear.

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The ancient peoples saw pictures in the sky. From those patterns in the heavens, ancient storytellers created legends about heroes, maidens, dragons, bears, centaurs, dogs and mythical creatures...
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